Many tourists who come to Israel visit places like Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, and miss the Galilee, which I consider one of the most beautiful areas in the country. So, after returning from a short but amazing vacation in Western Galilee, I decided to share it with you here, so that you can take a few notes for your next vacation in Israel.
For those who do not know, Western Galilee is a region that is located between mountains and sea, so the views are varied and impressive. The residents of the area are of different nationalities living together in peace, providing an extraordinary and enriching multicultural experience.
When it comes to vacationing in this region, the first organization I recommend is “Treasures of the Galilee“, a non-profit, philanthropic venture established in 2013 by Raya Strauss Ben Dror to encourage and increase tourism to the Western Galilee.
The enterprise has gathered the most recommended, unique and authentic businesses in the area, offering you many vacation options while combining a visit to the various businesses in the region. All the tourism business members of the project were carefully chosen, in order to provide a perfect hospitality experience.
At the recommendation of the experts of the Galilee treasures, we left Tel Aviv at 8 am, and after an hour and a half drive, we reached our first stop: Alto Dairy Farm. This family business, located in Kibbutz Shomrat, produces cheese from goat’s milk, which can be bought at the dairy shop to take home, or eaten there at the charming cafe. All the dishes served in the cafe include fresh, quality goat cheeses. We chose to sit at a picnic table outside and ordered a gourmet breakfast- a rich and luxurious breakfast that included excellent omelets, a wide range of special salads, a plate of local goat cheeses, fresh bread that just came out of the oven and both cold and hot drinks. For dessert we ate a wonderful Kanafeh (from goat cheese of course), which is probably one of the best we ever tried. It is difficult to describe in words the magical country atmosphere- the never-ending nature, bird chirping, endless tranquility and a dreamy meal that we will never forget. Next time we travel in the Galilee we will stop at Alto on our way back home, so that we can buy the fine cheeses and enjoy them at home as well.
From Kibbutz Shomrat we drove to Peki’in- a charming village built on the side of a mountain (amazing scenery!). Although most of the population in the village is druze, there is a combination of four national groups living together in harmony: Druze, Muslims, Christians and Jews. The main reason why you may have heard about Peki’in is Savta Jamila, a lovely woman who, for decades, built with her own hands a factory of soaps and toiletries based on olive oil and herbs. All her products have intoxicating aromas and healing qualities for the skin, and are sold to more than 20 countries in the world! Jamila herself hosted us at the Peki’in Visitors Center, told us her personal story and explained the production processes of the various products (all handmade!) And the qualities of the plants she uses.
After enjoying the view from the streets of Peki’in, we continued our way to the Druze village Hurfeish, where a charming woman named Ebtesam hosted us for a Druze cooking workshop. Together we went to her family’s land to collect herbs for cooking- a particularly enriching experience in the heart of the charming nature of the Galilee. The trip in nature and the gathering of plants were so different from the life we are used to in the big cities and felt like going back in time. From there we went back to Ebtesam‘s house and began to cook under her guidance a fine Druze meal, according to the family recipes she had learned from her mother. For several hours we worked together on a variety of dishes from the Druze kitchen, accompanied by explanations and tips that can be applied even after the cooking workshop at home. In the end, we sat down for a delightful meal in Ebtesam’s living room; All the dishes were served in an impressive and inspiring way, and, more importantly, were exceptionally delicious. A delight for culinary enthusiasts!
Our last stop on the trip is also related to food (of course!): The wonderful Aluma restaurant in Ma’alot-Tarshiha, which is the ideal place for dinner on your Galilee vacation. The decor is rustic and elegant with white tablecloths, romantic lighting and antique furniture brought from Provence. The menu combines South-French cuisine with Arabic cuisine and offers excellent dishes such as kohlrabi carpaccio with olive oil, lemon, almond, pistachio, truffle oil and parmesan, beef tortellini with white root cream and more. It is recommended to make reservation, especially on weekends.
A few months ago, I published a post about Maskit Boutique Hotel in the Western Galilee- a charming boutique hotel that I highly recommend staying in.
Another possibility is to stay in one of the many bed and breakfast that can be found in the area. We stayed in “Maayan Bereishit” Zimmer in Mitzpe Matat, in the Maayan hut: an isolated and quiet cabin in the heart of the forest, which provides a sense of total detachment from routine life. Swimming in the heated pool in front of the natural landscape is an experience we have never encountered in Israel, and that we will not forget anytime soon. And about design? I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Did you like my recommendations? Did you arrive at the hotel/ attraction/ restaurant following them and enjoyed it? Do not forget to tag @_traveliri in your Instagram story, and I’ll be happy to repost it.